NICOLA Sturgeon’s official Bute House residence is to shut down after the discovery of “small amounts” of asbestos, it has been confirmed.
The potentially lethal substance was uncovered during work to replace the 40 year old lift at the property in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square.
Scottish Government officials say the asbestos remains “undisturbed” and there is no risk - past or present - to staff visitors or residents at the historic Georgian building.
Health and Safety chiefs have now been informed, as well as neighbours ahead of work to safely remove the material. The work will get underway next week at which point Bute House will close down.
“During these works, Bute House will be closed and the First Minister will not be in residence,” a Government statement said today.
“The offices will only be reopened following confirmation that the asbestos has been completely removed.
“We anticipate that this work will take around 12 days to complete.”
Specialist consultants have now been employed to oversee the safe removal of the asbestos.
The lift is needed to provide wheelchair and service access at Bute House and the asbestos was found during preparatory to replace it. It is located in the cavities surrounding the lift shaft.
“The material is not readily accessible and because all relevant health and safety protocols have been observed by the building contractors, it has not been disturbed,” the Government statement added.
Ms Sturgeon’s predecessor Alex Salmond usually stayed in But House whilst in Edinburgh throughout the week during his seven year-stint as First Minister. Ms Sturgeon is not believed to stay there as often and tends to travel back to her Glasgow constituency home.
The discovery of asbestos in buildings built pre-2000 is not unusual. Asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis which causes breathing difficulties and mesothelioma, a type of cancer.